Just a few random checks of the news.
• Joe Klein, in a Time Magazine column, calls for Eric Shinseki’s resignation (“Ten Years After: A National Disgrace“).
Eric Shinseki, the secretary of veterans Affairs, should be the leading advocate for these troops. He should have been everywhere in the days after the massacre, promoting those veterans–and they exist all over in this country–who are fabulous employees, fabulous first responders, brilliant entrepreneurs in both the public and private sectors. But here’s a question: When was the last time you saw Shinseki say or do anything in public? He is universally regarded as an exemplary man. But even his supporters say he’s old-school military, stoic, wary of the press. And his detractors, who are legion among the generation of Iraq and Afghanistan veterans, say he lacks the creativity and leadership skills to deal with Veterans Affairs’ mind-boggling problems, like the 900,000 unprocessed disability cases. In any event, he has been in office for four years, and the problems our veterans face are worse than ever–and about to get still worse as the military demobilizes tens of thousands of additional troops in the next few years. It is time for him to step down.
• A couple of names jumped out at me from today’s Star-Advertiser obituaries–Harry Boranian, civil service director in the administration of the late Honolulu Mayor Frank Fasi, and former Honolulu fire chief Boniface Aiu, who also served during the Fasi years. The Star-Advertiser certainly missed an opportunity to look back at that period through the lives of these two men, but they don’t seem to put much effort into obituaries any more, it seems.
• One of my classmates from the University High School Class of 1965 (OMG! So long ago!) sent around a link to a story that appeared in Vogue a couple of years ago featuring Sylvia Nolan, another member of our graduating class of 80-something people (“Focus on Costume Design:
A talk with Sylvia Nolan, Resident Costume Designer at the Metropolitan Opera“).
• From the Of Two Minds blog written by my friend and Lanai High School grad Chuck Smith: Why do we read blogs?
Though it may seem self-evident to those in the blogosphere, the question “why do we read blogs?” directs a critical light on our media, culture and society.
The primary reason we read blogs is the abject failure of the mainstream media:
1. The mainstream media has failed to provide independent analysis of official policy and data.
2. The mainstream media’s spectrum of “opinion” is narrow and superficial, limited to columnists who repeat the same canned, increasingly disconnected-from-reality ideological perspectives.
• My very talented cousin, Leslie Madsen-Brooks, now an assistant professor of history at Boise State University, has a very interesting article in The Blue Review comparing Wikipedia to Ancestry.com (“Engendering Online History–Wikipedia vs. Ancestry.com: Historianship at a crossroads“). She finds both a large gender divide (around 65% of Ancestry users are female, while women make up only 8.5% of Wikipedia editors. And she analyzes another interesting difference, Ancestry’s reliance on primary documents vs. Wikipedia’s reluctance to rely on primary sources. Both have implications for styles of blogging, don’t you think? Anyway, good stuff.